All over the world, as many people stay at home, under varying levels of lockdown or self-isolation to combat the spread of Covid-19, one of the saving graces has been the internet. I’m not specifically talking about the seemingly endless access to entertainment as I tried and mainly succeeded in distancing myself from that. I’m talking about online commerce.
It’s not a ridiculous statement to say that retail may never return to what it was before the coronavirus pandemic. Consumers have not only grown accustomed to substantially more online purchases, many have enjoyed it, as opposed to the ‘normal’ way of shopping. To be honest, I could think of nothing worse right now than traipsing around a mall with thousands of others, when I could buy the same items in the comfort of my own home. Sure, there is the waiting time, but it’s not that long (with a few exceptions – yes NZ Post, I’m talking to you!). It’s also fun waiting for things to arrive, and it broke up the monotony of stricter alert levels – like Level 4.
Indeed, many retail stores have reported that they were surprised by the huge level of online orders – that had actually covered imagined losses to store closures during lockdown. Supermarkets, for example provided the ideal solution to meet the needs of consumers who were not able to leave home – if over 70 – or didn’t care to for fear of social distancing issues.
And if ever we needed another reminder about the power of reviews – I don’t think I saw, or considered any item i bought without consulting the reviews. It’s no surprise that practically every retail item contains reviews – or a link to reviews for the product. Online and reviews are just inseparable now and they provide the peace-of-mind required when making online transactions.
We are in strange seas, in strange times but there is comfort to be found in the checks and balances online. I think I will continue online purchasing for quite a long time and hopefully that will mean I will never have to set foot in a mall again.